Every day choices are made behind closed doors that no one wants to make. Which pets will have to be euthanized because there is no space available, no resources left for which to care for them? We often demonize animal control and shelter workers because we feel "they" are the one's making these decisions... but is that fair? Of course not! Most of those workers truly care about the welfare of animals and work their butts off to investigate reports of abuse and ensure the animals in their care receive proper treatment. So from where are these animals coming, and what is the solution? How can we as individuals end the killing of companion animals here in our communities?
Utah has made great strides in the last 30 years with the help and support of Best Friends Animal Society and many programs introduced by them "helping to decrease the killing of pets in the state’s shelters by about 59 percent." While we have seen an overall improvement in statistics, last year we still put to death around 8,000 cats and dogs who were or could have been someone's furry companion. Some pets are surrendered because they are deemed "too old" by their humans while others are picked up by animal control with no tags or I.D. Their humans are either never found or not willing to pay their impound fee. Still others are born only to be abandoned because they were not spayed and neutered to begin with.
We as a rescue can only care for as many animals as we have room and fosters...and sadly money too is a factor. Vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchipping not to mention food and additional medical care and housing costs do not come free. We see urgent posts, emails and instant messages daily requesting a place for a pet or they will be put down. It hurts me to see these images coming in daily knowing that we can't save each and every one... but I feel like we SHOULD and that one day we CAN! Together and as a community we are certainly stronger with many more resources at our disposal than as individuals. I certainly don't have all the answers, and there are many excellent resources out there detailing what one can do to help in general such as TNR and most importantly to spay or neuter your own pet.
My hope in writing this is that it will resonate with someone and motivate them to take a step toward helping one of the thousands of animals killed each year in Utah. Organizations such as ours need a network of willing foster homes with whom we can place animals while saving precious money on an actual brick and mortar building. This allows each of us the ability to make a difference in our communities one pet at a time by providing a loving home environment for them while waiting for permanent placement. This type of network ultimately frees up space in our shelters and will hopefully help to reduce companion animal deaths due to overcrowding and lack of resources.
If you would like to find out more about what you can do to help, please visit our Ways to Help page. Many of these "ways" are completely FREE for the user but benefit UVAR and our animals greatly. We appreciate the effort, support and time of each and every one of you. Together we really CAN make a difference.